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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Big Day

Today is a pretty big day for Brian. He has his college exit interview, which will officially end his educational career (for the second time!). I am so proud of him for the way he has worked sacrificially for our family to get this second degree so he can start a new career. A career that has helped us to adopt Rory and will allow me to be a stay at home mom. He has done so well, but it has taken alot of work on his part and I just want to tell him thank you! The exit interview today is a big deal because he has to turn in a huge project, which is basically the sum total of all his college work for the last 18 months. I think that the interview itself is just technically a formality since he's been a star student in the Teacher Education Department, but it will be a relief to finally have that finished. We would like for him to continue on and get a master's degree, but I think he's ready to take a couple of years off before undertaking that!

I have one page that I've worked on all week in bits and pieces and finally finished up. It uses a picture from this year's Thanksgiving Dinner. Unfortunately, the picture did not turn out that well, but it's all I have and I still wanted to document the day.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

14 Months

Rory is 14 months old today! I hope that she had a fun day with her foster family. I would imagine that she is walking by now. At 12 months, she wasn't quite walking on her own, but close according to the social worker's reports. We are still waiting for her legals, but am hopeful they might arrive this week. I am feeling quite anxious about it all, and I feel the burden of this wait weighing heavy on me. Its been 5 weeks, and we haven't even started the big wait for our immigration paperwork.

While we're on Rory and adoption, just a little rant from me. Over the last several weeks, I have had so many crazy, uninformed comments made to me that I've about had it! So let this be a public service announcement: PLEASE think before you speak! This is only one small example, but if one more person tells me how great it is that we won't have to deal with the infant/newborn/sleepless nights/endless bottles stage, I think I'll scream. Does anyone really think that we're happy that we will not meet our daughter until she's 18 months old or that it's a good thing that she has had multiple caregivers because her forever family isn't with her or that it will be easy to bring home an 18 month old who has never known anything but instability in her little life? Would any of you skipped knowing your child for the first 18 months of life? Because, really, when you tell me how great it is that we don't have to go through the newborn stage, that's what you're saying. I'm sure most of you reading this blog haven't been the ones to make ignorant comments, but you'd be surprised by how many and how often and by whom I've received comments. Okay, rant officially over.

I have a sweet Camden story that I meant to tell yesterday. When my parents left on Sunday, we walked them down, waved to them, and then got into our car to meet other family for lunch. I noticed Camden was really quiet so I turned around and asked him what was wrong. He was really sad, and said, "it just won't be very much fun any more without grandma and grandpa." Then he puckered up, tears started rolling, and said, "and we forgot to play soccer." Grandpa had told him he wanted to play soccer, but we all just forgot! The weather was cold and wet most of the time, and it just didn't get done. Four year olds don't understand that very well, though!

Well, I need to head to work. I didn't scrap last night, but I did finish up a BIG Christmas project and started work on our Christmas card. I don't know why I even bother - I always work for days, stress out needlessly, lose sleep over it, and I'm sure no one would even notice if I just did a traditional card! Last night I stayed up so late and then couldn't sleep, so I'm running on about 2 hours today. It just might be a long day!

Here's one more picture from the weekend.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Monday

It's back to work this morning! I'll admit to being a bit cranky and tired, but hopefully some coffee will wake me up nicely.

Camden's newest phrase is, "see how much I've growed, mommy/daddy." It's the first thing out of his mouth every single morning!

Here is another picture of Camden and Cheyenne. I actually did not stage this one - they were playing peek-a-boo with the tree.

Here is the Lewis family at Thanksgiving dinner. Unfortunately, these pictures I took did not come out that well, but here it is anyway.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Belated Happy Thanksgiving

I am finally taking a quick moment to blog and say a belated Happy Thanksgiving. We have had a very busy week! Between cleaning and preparing for company and all the dozens of small projects around the house that you always plan to take care of, but never do until company is coming, we were very busy the first part of last week. We spent a couple of days visiting with Brian's brother, sister-in-law, and niece. We had a great Thanksgiving with the Lewis's. My parents arrived Thanksgiving night. Camden was so excited to see them. I think he probably drove my dad nuts - he wouldn't leave his side for 3 days straight.

We did the standard Black Friday shopping and I got quite a few Christmas presents bought. My mom bought Rory this adorable dress from Gymboree along with polka dot tights to go with it. It is adorable! We also bought new luggage so that we would be prepared for our trip to Korea. We spent Saturday shopping for a Christmas tree and finally brought home a beautiful live tree and the house is decorated and ready for presents under the tree. Camden enjoyed helping out with that, of course.

Today we had church and then went out to eat with the Lewis side of the family one more time before they had to head home to Virginia and we're now enjoying a quiet afternoon before the work week begins again tomorrow.

I've posted pics of the cute dress for Rory as well as a picture of Camden and his cousin Cheyenne.
Camden and Cheyenne. Cheyenne is about 6 months younger than Camden but the same size. I think there was a bit of a turf war going on between the two of them. Camden is not used to having to share attention or toys at Gram and Gramp's house, but they settled in. She is a beautiful little girl!
Pictures of William and Xavier from Halloween.
picture from last year's Christmas
Camden and Grandpa in matching hats

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Potty Humor

I've never taken "leaf" pictures with Camden so I wanted to make sure I did so this year, but Camden had other ideas. He really wanted to play in the leaves, but wanted nothing to do with pictures. So it finally happened. We resorted to potty humor to get laughs. As soon as the inappropriate noises started, so did the smiles. Now, how to explain that those inappropriate noises are not appropriate in every day life!


We're spending today cooking, running errands, and getting the house ready for company. We're excited to see Brian's younger brother, sister-in-law and our niece. And my parents arrive tomorrow night. Camden is so excited to see them. We've been counting down the "sleeps."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Lunch Bunch

My favorite day of the month is here - lunch bunch! And it's my turn to choose the restaurant this month. I'm pretty sure we're heading out to Pei Wei! What makes today even better is that it's our last day of work before Thanksgiving break - we have 5 whole days off! Woohoo!

Here's a random Camden tidbit for you. His new favorite word is dude. It's hilarious!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Shopping Season

Let the shopping begin! I've noticed the last couple of weeks that traffic and crowds have gotten busier, but today I made a quick trip to Target on my lunch hour and boy was it crazy! I'm sure that it will only get worse from now until Christmas. I love Christmas shopping and all the good sales, but I will admit that standing in lines is not so much fun.

Today was one hectic work day. I'm glad I don't have days like this too often. I like to be busy, but this wasn't busy - it was madness! Too many deadlines all happening at one time. Tomorrow will be similar, but it's my last day of work for the week so that will make it manageable.

Camden is having so much fun at school this week. They're learning all about the pilgrims and Indians, making lots of cute Thanksgiving crafts, etc. Today he came home with an Indian head dress and vest as well as a Thanksgiving placemat they had decorated with their hand prints and then laminated. There are so many cute things he brings home that I'd like to keep, but there's just so much of it that I end up throwing most of it away. He brings home 3-5 papers EVERY day and he's just in K-4! I have 12 more years of school projects coming my way. I can't start keeping it all now!

Did I mention I scrapped this weekend? Here's a sampling of the pages I got done. I have 4 more to show you, but I think I'll hold onto them for another time. And ABC had the nerve to broadcast the Titans game instead of airing Dancing With the Stars tonight so I got more scrapping time in!



Sunday, November 18, 2007

My Surprise

Brian and I went out for our combined birthdays on Friday night (his is Dec. 7), and had a wonderful dinner at Maggiano's. I had chicken pesto linguini and Brian had baked sausage ziti with creme brulee for dinner - so good! My birthday surprise was tickets to a Steven Curtis Chapman concert with Bethany Dillon and Sanctus Real. We had so much fun! I like SCC's music anyway, but then there is the big adoption connection that makes it even better. It is his organization that gave us a $3,000 grant to help bring Rory home. I love concerts! Something about seeing the musicians live and seeing all that talent up close and personal is so exciting.

Saturday we were busy with grocery shopping for all the upcoming Thanksgiving festivities and running errands. I'm coming down with a cold so I came home for a nap while Brian took Camden to the fall festival (or festibal as Camden puts it) at his school and then ran errands. They were gone most of the day, so I had some quiet time.

I'd say we had a quiet afternoon today, but Camden spent the day in his soccer uniform literally running the length of the house! It was actually pretty funny. He's very imaginative these days - from playing an entire soccer game by himself, to wrestling with all 4 couch pillows, to hunting deer in the living room, to having complete conversations with himself. It was good family time, though.

Here are a few pictures from the concert.


The drummer, who happens to be
Steven Curtis Chapman's 16-year old son!



And one page from last winter


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Peppermint Mocha

Our weather has been so wierd this year, but after a muggy 75 yesterday complete with severe thunderstorms and tornado warnings, our high temp today is supposed to be 49. I'm headed to Starbucks this morning to use one of my birthday giftcards. A little birdie told me that their holiday flavors are out, and I can't wait to have a Peppermint Mocha - I bet they've even pulled out their cheery red holiday cups!

Not much else to say today, but I do have two layouts finished! This picture of William and Xavier cracks me up! They were wrestling and William got pinned. Xavier was having the time of his life rocking back and forth on top of him and giggling. William, however, was not so pleased.



Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Three weeks

Three weeks ago today Rory's paperwork went to Korea. I know you're all hoping that I do not post a weekly countdown, but I felt like it today. We're still waiting for her legal paperwork from Korea which will allow us to file immigration paperwork, and I'm also hoping for an update and new pictures soon, but who knows!

There is one phrase in Rory's paperwork that I've been meaning to share. It's one of the very first things I read about her. And I quote, "As she is rather strong-willed, she does what she wants to do." I seriously laughed out loud when I read that. She's my daughter already!

Here are a few more pictures that we received October 22 - all taken October 3.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Recipes

I had a nice birthday yesterday - lots of calls and emails and good wishes. We're not officially celebrating until Friday night. Brian actually has it all planned out and it's a surprise. Well, he did let me have input on the restaurant and he suggested Maggiano's. We went there 2 years ago for my birthday, and I LOVED it. We thought about going last year, but were just getting started in the adoption process and decided not to spend the money. I almost decided to be responsible this year as well, but I figure since we'll be going down to one income soon he might never offer again so I took him up on it! I can't wait for the weekend!

Brian's first day in his class was good. It was his official first day as a teacher, and he said the day just flew by. The kids seem well-behaved and he was happy with them. He stayed late rearranging the room last night and just trying to get things ready so that it feels more like his room. I helped him average grades for progress reports last night. He was trying to do them all with a little calculator so I just took the gradebook and whipped out the computer! It was kinda fun for the first 30 minutes, but got a little monotonous after that, but they're all finished now.

Today is a busy day! We both have work as usual and then Brian has his first faculty meeting after school. I will race home to meet him at 5:00, take Camden to Gram and Gramp's house and then we turn right back around and drive almost an hour and a half to our adoption agency for an international travel seminar. We probably won't make it home until close to 10 . It's going to be a long day I think.

Well, I don't have any pictures or layouts ready to share today, but I do have a really good crockpot recipe. Becky made this when I was in Oklahoma and then I made it Sunday.

Mustard Pork Chops and Taters (yes, that is the name)

2 T oil
6-8 pork loin chops
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 c chicken broth
1/4 c dijon mustard
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 t dried thyme
1/4 t pepper
5 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 onion sliced

Heat oil in large skillet over med heat. Add pork chops and brown on both sides; drain. Combine soup, broth, mustard, garlic, thyme and pepper in a slow cooker. Add potatoes and onion, stirring to coat.

Arrange pork chops on top of potatoes. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Monday

I was trying really hard to come up with a title for today, but I'm drawing a blank! I'm actually kind of drawing a blank for anything to say as well, but I did think of a fun memory that happened 4 years ago today. On my 28th birthday (you can do the math to see how terribly old I am today), we had received Camden's referral, but had not officially accepted it yet, and we were really struggling to choose a name for him. I was sure of the name, but as usual Brian and I were not on the same page. But on my birthday card, Brian wrote me a sweet note telling me how wonderful I am I'm sure (insert sarcasm here) and at the very end, he wrote "P.S. Look at the back of this card for a fun surprise." I turned the card over and it said, "Happy Birthday - you win. Camden Eli it is." Isn't that fun!

Here's a picture Brian took of Camden wearing his Halloween shirt. We had to cheat and take these pictures the weekend after Halloween since it fell on a Wednesday this year and it was already dark by the time we got home.
And I'm trying to finish up scrapping these pictures we had taken by our friend Angie last year. Camden is just too handsome for his own good here!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Success

I think the sleepover was a success! Camden and the girls had a ton of fun giggling, running around, playing together, and watching movies. I will admit that Camden was fairly loud, obnoxious, and very possessive of his toys, but he wasn't mean, and I think it's probably pretty typical 4 year old behavior. For the most part, though, they had a blast! Brian and I had fun with them although I will admit that going from 1 child to 3 was a pretty big leap and more work than I imagined, but fun. Here's a quick example of how boys and girls are different: They were watching Mulan (which Camden was less than thrilled about). Emily would cover her eyes during the "bad parts" which was anytime the soldiers were visible. As the fight scene started, she covered her eyes and said she didn't want to watch the bad part. Camden looked at her like she was nuts and said, "this isn't the bad part. This is just the mean men fighting and killing each other." Okay, I just realized that this sounds first of all like we were letting them watch an adult movie and second that Camden sounds a bit psycho!

Here's a picture of the 3 of them getting ready to watch a movie with their p.j.'s on. They're so cute!


Friday, November 09, 2007

Sleepover

I'm having a good morning - I'm watching a piece on the Today Show about Michael Jordan and his son who is playing for the University of Illinois this season. I grew up LOVING Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, and I'm still fascinated even though he's been retired for years. I can remember being in early high school and when he retired (for the first time) after his father passed away, we were allowed to go into the library and watch it live on TV. I grew up about 3 hours from Chicago so you can understand the obsession!

Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled blog info!

We're having our first sleepover tonight. My friend Kathy is having a girls night with some women from church, so we're keeping Emily and Meredith - her 2 and 5 year old. Camden is so excited. The first thing he said when I told him last night was, "Ooooh, I'm going to let Emily play football with me outside." Now, Emily is a girly girl. I'm pretty sure there will be no football games going on!

Here's a page using a picture of Camden and a boy from church - I walk with his mom a couple of times a week. Aren't they sweet?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

My Shopping Adventure

Those of you who know me well, know that I can be a bit. . ummm, what's the word. . . particular maybe when it comes to anything involving children's clothing and bedding (I can hear my family laughing now - particular is probably not the word they would choose). I waited a long time for the privilege and fun of buying cute baby clothes and decorating nurseries, and I intend to thoroughly enjoy the retail part of having children. :) So, when I found a cute Pottery Barn nursery set on sale for about 65% off, I snatched it right up. The problem is that it just wasn't quite what I wanted. Well, I put it off and put it off and finally Tuesday night about 8:30 p.m. I had had enough. I went and packaged it all up, marched myself off to PBK during my lunch hour Wednesday, went through the grueling process of returning many, many items and found exactly what I wanted. Well, not exactly what I wanted. I had to buy the sheets in the store, ordered the bumper pad online, back-ordered the bedskirt, and then I went down the list of PBK stores in the U.S. and called SEVERAL until I found a store in Georgia that had the quilt and would ship it to me. So, most of the nursery set is on the way, and I feel really happy about getting to work decorating Rory's room. Here's a picture from the catalog of the bedding.

So, now that we have that important news out of the way, what else is going on in our lives? Well, Brian finally went to the doctor about his knees. I've only been bugging him about this for the last 10 years! The doctor told him that he doesn't typically see such bad knees on a 31 year old and that his knees looked more like a man twice his age!! He's sending him to an orthopedic surgeon next week. I feel really bad for him - he's in alot of pain and his knee is so swollen. It's also catching quite a bit while he's walking which makes him gasp out loud in pain! I hate seeing him that way! Hopefully the medicine they gave him will help it until they can decide what to do about it.

And here's a page that I finished up while in Oklahoma over the weekend.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Happy Birthday, Becky!

I hope you have a great birthday! Thanks for letting me share the weekend with you!

Me, Becky, and Micah before our big night out at The Melting Pot.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Back to the Grind

It's back to work today! I actually slept so well while I was in Oklahoma that I came back feeling very refreshed. Honestly, I don't know when is the last time I've slept so well or for so long! Of course, last night was back to our nightly routine of me not falling asleep for hours, Camden waking up several times for various reasons (bathroom, bloody nose, knocking on our door at all hours just to say he loves us, which would be sweet if it weren't the middle of the night!).

I promised a little more information about Rory. She is currently living with a foster family who is taking very good care of her. As of October 3, she weighed 18 lbs and is a very petite little thing (Camden weighed 19.3 lbs at 8 months!). She wasn't quite walking on her own, but from remarks made from the caseworker she seemed close. She has 5 teeth (which you can see in her cute smile). Here is what needs to happen in order to bring her home. Our paperwork has been sent to Korea. The Korean agency will then prepare and send her legal paperwork to the U.S. Once our U.S. agency receives the paperwork, they will file immigration paperwork. Memphis will handle that paperwork and they are currently taking FOREVER to process the paperwork. The average wait time is 10-14 weeks, but I think a much more realistic wait time is 18-22 weeks. I hope not, but I don't want to get my hopes up. We will be traveling to Korea to bring her home. We'll spend 3-5 days in Seoul and will be able to visit with her, but won't actually get her for good until right as we leave for the U.S. I'm assuming that will be one long trip home with an 18 month old who does not know us at all! We are able to send her packages and have sent one to her already and we are working on another. Everything we send has to fit into a one gallon freezer bag, so we don't have much room! I think we've managed to tell all our family and friends about her, and they're all very excited! My mom already sent her a cute little brown corduroy dress with matching tights!

My one last piece of news is that I've quit my job! When Rory comes home, I will be a stay at home mom. I am very excited about that, but am also sad to leaves this job. I have been here a long time and have made many friends, but this is what Brian and I have worked toward ever since Camden came home, and I'm very happy that it will finally be a reality. So I expect work to be very busy the next several months as I manage not only my daily work load, but also prepare handbooks and directions for the person who will replace me.

One layout to share using pictures of Camden and Brian as they headed out to a football game in September. Don't they look happy?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Home!

I feel like I've been keeping secrets for so long with the trip, Rory, etc. that I haven't been able to blog about so many things happening in our lives, so you might want to settle in - I've got a long weekend recap for you!

I left work early on Thursday in order to make my flight. First we got stuck in traffic, then I went to the wrong airline to check in, then the security line was FOREVER long!! I barely made it to my gate in time, but my flight was completely uneventful, and the only flight out of 4 that I had to share a seat. I made it to Tulsa at 8:55 p.m. and Micah picked me up and was so excited about Becky's surprise. Micah had told Becky that a group of girls from her Bible study were going to stop by late after dinner and so when we arrived at the house, we parked on the street (the porch light was off) and he called her to ask if her friends had arrived yet. As he was asking her if her friends were there, I knocked on the door. I could hear her talking to Micah on the phone as she came and answered the door. I was holding a sign that said "Happy Birthday from Micah, William, and Xavier." She was absolutely stunned! It was such a fun surprise. After the initial surprise was over, they gave me a tour of the house and we sat down to talk. I casually pulled pictures of some family members out of my bag that I knew she would be interested in and gave them to her. I also had Rory's pictures in there as well. I was explaining all the different pictures to her, and then when she pulled out Rory's picture, I said, "and this is our Rory." She was so surprised and excited for us! And it was so sweet to be able to share the big news with her in person.

One of Becky's friends was having her mastectomy on Friday, so Becky had made muffins for the family and we delivered them to the hospital that morning. I was also able to meet Becky's surgeon who she has become friends with. Friday night we went to the Melting Pot and had the best time! The food was incredible, and we had a blast!

Saturday was National Digital Scrapbooking Day and we spent ALL DAY in front of the computers. We both had our laptops, our EHDs in the kitchen. Becky got several pages done, and maybe a bit of shopping as well. I had lots of fun spending time with William and Xavier. They are so sweet! Unfortunately, they weren't too sure of me! I won Xavier over pretty quickly with some M&M's, but William never did really become my friend. I did get goodbye kisses from both, though!

Sunday was pretty much more of the same and I left this morning for home. I think Brian is ready for a break from our 4 year old who NEVER stops talking! Camden must have missed me because he is very excited to have me home. Brian has had knee problems for quite a while, but he's really having issues these days. Not sure if it's being on his feet teaching all day or what, but his knee is swollen to at least twice it's normal size, and he's sitting here with his knee propped up and iced. Camden just said, "it's so nice to be a family again." So sweet! I also came home to a very clean house so I should say thank you to my sweet husband for that!

I'll post more about Rory tomorrow. Thanks for all the congratulations and good wishes!

On the Road Again

I don't have time this morning to write about my trip, but here are some pages from the weekend. I'm off to the airport!


Version 1

Version 2 (can you tell I'm undecided on which one to use)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Secrets

I have been keeping lots of secrets the last several weeks! The first secret is my location - I'm blogging from Owasso, Oklahoma today! Micah's birthday present to Becky is me! I left Nashville yesterday and flew to OK last night and showed up on her doorstep. She was VERY surprised to see me, and Micah got the great reaction he was hoping for. I'm here until Monday, so I'm looking forward to spending lots of time with Becky, Micah, and the boys. We're headed to The Melting Pot for a birthday dinner tonight and then tomorrow is set aside for scrapping. I've got Brian's laptop and my EHD set up, and Becky has her MAC set up and ready to go.

The second secret I've been keeping is something I'll let Camden share with you.


Are you ready??
Rory Katherine Sarang Lewis was born September 27, 2006. We were introduced to her October 21, and have somehow managed to keep a secret for almost two weeks so that I could tell Becky about her new niece in person! She is living in South Korea and waiting for us to go get her. It will probably take another 4 months before we're able to bring her home because of immigration paperwork, but I am praying that it will be sooner.

Camden doesn't quite know what to think about a sister. We've talked in general terms about a baby sister for so long, that I'm pretty sure he thinks we're just still in the "talking about a sister" stage. I'm sure it won't quite be real for him until she's home.

And now on to the pictures! These were all taken October 3. We think she looks like such a sweet girl!



And you know I couldn't wait to scrap a girly page! So, here is my first Rory page.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

November

Anyone else excited it's November? November finally feels like fall. I really love the Thanksgiving season and then the days leading up to Christmas. Of course, my favorite day of the year is the day after Thanksgiving when we get to have the best shopping trip of the year!

I mentioned yesterday that I was sad Camden wasn't going to get to go trick-or-treating, but he got a ton of candy and gifts from people at church last night so he's totally set! He thought it was a party just for him. Our church people are sweet to him.

Traffic has been horrible the last several days so I need to get headed out the door soon. Enjoy the first day of November!